Good morning…we hope you’re preparing for a great weekend. Some top stories, in no particular order:


The chef lobby. Chefs are “some of the most trusted sources on food”…and they are increasingly using their knowledge and celebrity to advocate for change in the nation’s food system. As individuals and a group, their political influence is growing. The Chef Action Network – a nonprofit that equips chefs to become advocates – is led by a former political campaign strategist. The James Beard Foundation also equips chefs for advocacy, by putting them through a three-day “boot camp.” A fascinating story by Maria Godoy for NPR’s The Salt.


Updated USDA landing page for new farmers. It provides information for multiple categories of farmers: beginning, women, veterans and “farms in transition.” The Discovery Tool is incredibly useful; we were able to tease out some valuable information quickly by answering a few simple questions. The UC Food Observer thinks that the USDA website is one of the best websites in the world. It contains a stunning amount of information – research reports, historical information, recipes, nutrition information and resources for kids. There is something for all ages and circumstances. We visit a couple of times a week.


Speaking of new farmers…it’s never too late. We really like this piece by Nancy Matsumoto. It’s about Mary Cleaver and Ashley Hollister, a married couple starting a farm to complement their restaurant and catering business. It appears in Civil EatsNice read for the weekend and inspiring for those who might be considering a later entry into farming.


Say it ain’t so. A USDA scientist has filed a whistleblower complaint, alleging that he “was suspended after complaining that the agency was blocking his research into the harmful effects of pesticides on pollinators…” Steve Volk for the Washington PostHow McDonald’s was able to market its products to kids during school hours. Rob Ferdman reports on a story that was originally broken by Bettina Elias Siegal. Appearing in the Washington Post.


Yelp experiments with warning labels for restaurants that have low health inspection scores. Food policy expert Parke Wilde provides a nice summary of this (including links to other sources) in a recent post on his U.S. Food Policy blog. Definitely worth a read.


ICYMI: Read our Q&A with the inspiring Robert Egger, founder of the L.A. Kitchen. It’s still October…and National Farm to School Month. Read our Q&A with Anupama Joshi to learn more about the growing movement to improve school lunches. And we speak with Katie Blanchard from Real Food Challenge to learn how students are changing the landscape of college food service. #goodreads


Have a great weekend. It’s a glorious day and we’re off to catch up with good food friends and see what’s growing at Phil McGrath’s farm in Ventura County. See you Monday!